“Never do I close my door behind me without being conscious that I am carrying out an act of charity towards myself.” – Peter Hoeg
“What are you all up to,” I ask.. as the Cowboy and I and all the kiddos are talking early Saturday via the videophone.
“Not much,” he says.
“The kids are watching a movie. We had some of those clementines you bought earlier this week, they love ’em.. they really do. I can’t believe we’ve never had them before.. they’re so much easier to peel than .. a regular orange. I think we’ll have to start buying them. They’ve had four each this morning!”
I love clementines.
Because the Cowboy and the kids are so rarely at the house for any length of time, he hates buying perishable food. So I bought them tons of fruit earlier this week, in part because I wanted it for myself while there. He fussed at me a bit for it. But I want them all to be healthy as .. well, a horse. Use whatever analogy there you’d like. All I know is fresh fruit does the body better than say, ice cream or chips, for a snack. And the kiddos are all sick right now with nasty colds. I’m happy to hear they’ve discovered the awesomeness of clementines.
“What do you have planned for the day?”
I ask, because I know unlike most other weekends when family is around or I am around there is a lot going on. Everyone, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are around and want time with the four of them, because otherwise there is precious little time these days to see the kids.
“Nothing. In fact, I’m not sure we’re going to leave the house.” He’s got a big smile on his face. “I’ve got homemade potato soup going already. We’re just going to hang out together and relax. I think they need it.”
I can hear laughter, music, the keyboard being practiced on, and a whole lot of … well, not much going on in the background there.
Down time is a wonderful thing. In fact, one of my colleagues did a story this week on how rarely we make room for down time in this hectic, constantly accessible, on-the-go fast paced life, and a place you can go to literally book a room in a place where all you do is be quiet. And contemplate. Life. Anything. But the goal is to just be still.
I understand the need for a place to go to find that, away from home because so often we get caught up in what else needs to get done. Or who is stopping by. But I also chuckle at the fact most of us can’t find a place anymore to be quiet in our own home.
I know its tough for the Cowboy and many others to believe I appreciate that, given how busy I usually am.
But I do.
It is why, since living a few years in Montana and discovering what the Big Sky does for my soul, I’ve wanted to return to the west. The wide open spaces remind me (and often I need that) I can be as busy or as still as I want to be. And both are good.
I called them again on our way to see old friends last night from my hometown.
“What are you all up to?” I ask. “How is the day going?” ..
His daughter comes into view and she’s got the biggest smile on her face. “Nothing,” they say. She hangs out, leaning against her dad and loving watching herself on the screen. After a few minutes as her dad and I keep talking, she runs off. I can hear her playing the keyboard again and amidst laughter from the boys.
Here in Wisconsin ..
Grocery store run
.. we are hustling around, running to the store for something I forgot to get when I went earlier this week, going for a run, running errands, returning messages. And that was just the morning. The afternoon got a whole lot more busy, and fun. Full of things to get done, friends and family. Crazy day. But a good one.
The Cowboy’s folks and the rest of the family he and the kids would typically be surrounded by, are at the http://www.centralstatesfair.com/stock-show/schedule/.
In fact, I think half the state is. Everywhere we went when I was there earlier this week, the second question asked after ‘how are you, pard?’ .. was, ‘we gonna see you at the Stock Show?’ The Cowboy usually goes. His mom I believe is doing a lot of shopping at the trade shows. His brother is there selling a horse he’s got beautifully trained. The whole show is a pretty big deal it seems. The Cowboy explains to me, it’s kind of like the little brother to the NFR in Vegas. It’s busy. It’s fun. And we’ll probably go next year, he explains to me.
But this year, this particular weekend, he is soaking up how quiet it is, back at the ranch.
The power of being still
I just spoke with him again. “We’ve done absolutely nothing,” he laughs as he has the best look in his eyes. (Which is pretty cool to see across the miles – via the vid phone)
I have a feeling when we talk again later today .. I’ll hear more of the same.
There just isn’t enough time sometimes to do a whole lot of nothing. Or three children who are willing to spend time doing nothing either. They grow up too fast and are off in their own directions. Weekends used to be for that, didn’t they? Rest. Perhaps in some households they still are. The Cowboy has reminded me that on occasion at least, they should be.
Which is why this morning, my daughter still sleeps while I sit at the dining room table, sunlight streaming across the room at me. The TV is off. The sound of someone shoveling outside and the hot water heat kicking back on through the radiators is the only noise I hear. I have my coffee. A clementine. The dog at my feet. And the day ahead. To do a whole lot of something, or a little bit of nothing ourselves.